Monday, 30 September 2013

Tidbits from my weekend

I had a very nice weekend, which included a haircut, a quilt guild meeting, and lots of time sewing with my friends.

Letter from Lotta Quilt - nearly finished

I had hoped to have this quilt finished to show you today but I'm still finishing the last of the binding.  It will be my last finish for the 2013 Finish Along.  Are you ready to link up your projects?

Knit fabric

I also went shopping for fabric to make my Ruby Dress. I wasn't actually terribly successful on the dress fabric shopping, but this lovely knit caught my eye and I had to get a metre of it.  I think I'll just sew it up into a simple cowl, and it will make a lovely soft spring scarf.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Caturday Wisdom #38

You've gotta be in to win. Ralph

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway for a Fat Quarter Shop gift voucher.  I've drawn the winner and the random number generator picked lucky number 19, Melissa!

Congratulations Melissa!  As you can see, Ralph is very excited to see that you won!

By the way, I actually picked another winner first, but when I went and checked it turned out she was a no-reply blogger who hadn't left an email address in her comment.  Sad.  So if you're not sure if you're a no-reply blogger and think you might be, check out my tutorial on how to switch to being a reply blogger.

Friday, 27 September 2013

A quilt for a kid

This weekend I quilted up a little quilt top that has been sitting in my cupboard for I-don't-know how long.

Chevron Oasis 

It's a cousin of the first finished quilt I ever blogged about.  I bought the fabric, a couple of charm packs of Moda's Oasis collection, before I really knew where to find modern fabric.  I wouldn't say it's exactly to my taste but I do like how soft and pretty the floral prints are. 

I took the opportunity of only having a small area to quilt to play around with a few different quilting designs.  I really wanted the quilting to emphasise the distinction between the cream background and the coloured chevrons.  Quilting the background more densely makes it recede, and this back and forwards wiggle adds some movement an directionality to the quilt.

Chevron Oasis 

The coloured sections are not only quilted less densely, with a reasonably loose stipple, but the much more curvy quilting also contrasts nicely with the quilting in the background.

You can see that I experimented with a different quilting design in one of the coloured sections - rather than the stipple I've quilted little flowers on a meandering path.  I wasn't very happy with this design when I quilted it, but looking at the photo it's growing on me.  I'd like to try this design again when I'm not so constrained for space - making the flowers that small was a bit tough.

Chevron Oasis

I'm really pleased that this quilt top is now out of my cupboard and in a usable state.  I'll take it along to the quilt guild meeting this weekend and hand it over to the lady in charge of collecting quilts for donation to the neonatal ward of Wellington Hospital.  They are always in need of more quilts so I'm sure it will be useful.  

Chevron Oasis

I'm linking up to 100 Quilts for Kids at swimbikequilt.  It's heartening to see over 100 quilts linked already.

Quilt Stats
Pattern: half square triangle chevron quilt
Finished Size: 28" by 32"
Fabric: Moda's Oasis collection, very subtle cream floral 
Backing: white on cream print from Spotlight
Binding: DS Quilts print from Spotlight
Pieced and quilted by: me.

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Rain on the Roof

Is there anything better than being inside, snuggled up with a hot cup of tea and a good book and maybe even a cat, while the rain pours down on the roof outside?  I don't think so, and that's what Rachel's Washed Earth mosaic contest put me in mind of.

Rain on the Roof Bundle
That, and the moment when the rain stops, and the clouds clear just enough so that you get that very crisp light, and everything is dripping wet, and it's just like a sigh of relief.
I can't resist a good mosaic contest and this was a fun one.  You should definitely head over and try your hand at making a bundle too. 

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WIP Wednesday

I'm still working on my Garden for Birds Quilt.  It has changed a bit from the original plan - that's the fun thing about a quilt like this.  Here's where I'm up to at the moment.

Garden for Birds quilt still in progress

I'm hoping to get this quilt top finished up this week.  Then I'll have to think about the quilting.  On one hand I think something super simple since there's already so much going on would be good - on the other hand I think different FMQ designs to complement the different blocks could be cool too.  I guess we'll see what kind of mood I'm in when I come to quilt this one!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway - it's open until Friday.

Monday, 23 September 2013

My first sponsor (and a giveaway)


So after all that thinking about sponsorship (here and here, if you missed it), I eventually got my act together and approached a few potential sponsors.  Fat Quarter Shop had to be on the list and I'm now very pleased to introduce them as my first sponsor!

Here's why I like Fat Quarter Shop:

- they have a HUGE range of high quality quilting fabrics, and stock both modern and more traditional designs so there is something for everyone.  

- their sale section is brilliant, especially when I need lots of yardage for a quilt back - there's always a bargain to be had.  

- the presentation of their packages is outstanding - the fabric is always beautifully presented and it's almost a shame to unfold it!

- they are a massive supporter of the online quilting community and regularly provide prizes for quilt-alongs, challenges and other online events.

- they stock one of my favourite solid collections, Moda Bella Solids.

So Fat Quarter Shop has been generous enough to offer a $20 gift certificate to one of my readers.  What would you buy?  I think I might be tempted by one of the design rolls that are currently on sale.  Joel Dewberry's latest collection Bungalow definitely caught my eye.

As did Heather Bailey's latest collection, Lottie Da.  By the way, has anyone else noticed how many good purple fabrics are coming out just at the moment?  I have, and it's pleasing.  Good purples are hard to find!

To enter the giveaway, head over to Fat Quarter Shop and then leave a comment on this post letting me know what you would buy if you won.  If you want, you can get an extra entry for each of the following (just leave an extra comment for each that applies):

- following my blog through google friend connect or a feed reader like bloglovin' or feedly (new and existing followers both count);
- liking my facebook page; and
- sharing this giveaway via your favourite social media (you could blog about it, share it on facebook, tweet about it, whatever!).

This giveaway is open to everyone (including international participants), but if I can't contact you, you can't win. If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address in the comment.

The giveaway will stay open until around 10 pm Friday 27 September 2013 (New Zealand Time), and I will use the random number generator at to pick a winner then.

Good luck everyone!  By the way, I usually respond to all comments, but giveaways can be a little overwhelming, so I hope you don't mind if I don't respond to your comment on this post.  Also, please don't be concerned that my blog is going to be all about sponsored content from here on out.  It won't.  For the most part it will be exactly the same, with a couple of extra buttons in the sidebar.  But I think it's only fair to introduce my sponsors as they come on board, and let you know why I've picked them to partner with.  Also, I'm stoked to be able to offer you the chance to win free fabric!


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Caturday Wisdom #37

Always floss. Ivy

It the weekend!  Spend time doing what you love.
As always, pet advice submissions are welcomed at adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com.

Friday, 20 September 2013


Uh oh.  People, I'm thinking about sewing clothes.  I have a history with garment sewing - through my teenage years I sewed clothes for myself somewhat regularly - usually with much wailing and gnashing of teeth (and help from my mum).  Believe it or not, I find piecing quilts much easier than I found sewing garments.
Recently I've been thinking more about trying to make my own clothes again.  My sewing skills have definitely improved so I'm hoping I might be a bit more successful than previously.  It would also be nice to have a spring/summer dress that's actually the right length.  At 5'8" I'm not exactly super tall, but I'm tall enough that dresses which are meant to sit just above the knee end up sitting quite a lot higher on me.

Ruby Dress - lined yoke
Ruby Dress by Made by Rae.

Anyway, the other day I saw that Rae of Made by Rae has just released a new dress (and top) pattern - the Ruby Dress and Top.  It's described as a pattern for a beginner sewist, which sounds right up my alley.  Unlike some of the other patterns out there which I can tell will not suit me, I think the shape of the Ruby Dress will work for my body (fingers crossed!).

Even though I'm a huge fan of using quilting fabrics in my quilts, I'm not planning to use them for this dress.  Instead, I think I'll take the opportunity to visit The Fabric Store, a local shop which stocks a great range of amazing garment fabrics.  I've been there before and lusted after all the gorgeous fabrics, but couldn't see how I would use them.  Haha - now I have a plan!

So - any other quilters out there trying their hand at garment sewing?  Anyone specifically planning to make this dress?  I'd love any tips you might have.  Mum, I might be calling you bringing my debacle of a dress round for you to fix...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

WIP Wednesday

A good friend of mine is expecting her first child soon - a much longed for baby girl.  I'm so pleased for her (and also for myself, because I've been hanging out to make a baby girl quilt all year) and to celebrate I designed this completely over the top quilt.

I hope my sketch is encouraging to anyone else who is thinking about designing their own quilts - you can see that my drawing skills are pretty minimal (yes, those are birds and flowers) but that hasn't stopped me and it shouldn't stop you!

Garden for Birds Quilt

I really wanted to create a quilt that was fun and a little bit crazy, and would allow me to use lots of different colours and fabrics.  This quilt uses a variety of different techniques, including piecing and appliqué, but the intention is that it's simple enough for even a fairly novice quilter to make.

I spent the weekend at my first ever quilting retreat.  It was awesome - I got a bunch done and it was lovely to hang out with lots of quilting obsessed people like me.  I took the opportunity to make a start on this baby quilt.  I'm pretty happy with where it's going so far and can't wait to work on it some more this weekend.  I have to give a special shout out to my friend Helen (aka the appliqué queen) - she was on the retreat too and she did a beautiful job of the machine blanket stitch on the central appliqué block - thanks Helen!

Garden for Birds Quilt in progress

Have you been to a quilting retreat before?  I'd definitely do it again - my only complaint was that it was too short!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 16 September 2013

Blackberry Winter Blossom

Spring in Wellington means the long winter nights get shorter, and the days get longer.  Lots of green sprouts appear everywhere, everything is growing.  It also means weather that is even more changeable than ever, and you can really get four seasons in one day.  There is more sunshine, but especially in these early days of spring, there is a lot of wind and rain, and a day can turn from warm and sunny to freezing cold and rainy in an instant.  I wanted my first quilt to capture that early spring feeling - it has started,  but we're not completely out of winter either.

Spring Blossom

I designed this really simple block to try and capture that feeling.  To me, it's reminiscent of both a flower and a snowflake.  "Blackberry winter" is an old fashioned term used to describe a cold snap that occurs after the blackberry bushes have blossomed, preparing the way for fruit to appear in summer.  It seemed like the perfect name for this block, and so even though I'm sure it already exists in some other incarnation, I'm calling my version the Blackberry Winter Blossom Block.

Spring Blossom Quilt

This quilt is a large scale version of the Blackberry Winter Blossom Block, with each square finishing at 2.5" and the whole quilt top finishing at around 44" square.  I really really love the colours and fabrics in this little quilt top.  The border fabric is a particular favourite and actually inspired the fabric pull that this quilt is made from.

I knew when I started making this quilt that much of the definition in the block design would be lost because of the different values of the fabrics I've used to make the quilt.  If I had chosen a more consistent value contrast between the squares that make up the background, and the squares that make up the flower, the flower shape would be clearer.  I really don't mind this - I love all the variation in the quilt, but I will be taking the opportunity to add definition to the edges of the flower with the quilting.

Spring Blossom Quilt

With a really small version of the quilt top, you can see the pattern a lot better.

Spring Blossom Quilt

I'm pleased to say that I have more of most of the fabrics I used in this quilt - they will definitely be appearing again.  I have the backing pieced so I just need to get it basted and then start quilting - can't wait to do some FMQ on this one!

Has the change in seasons where you live been influencing your quilting?

Linking up with:

Fresh Poppy Design  Better Off Thread  My Quilt Infatuation

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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Caturday Wisdom #36

Fake it 'til you make it. 
This is completely unrelated to my new toupée luscious locks. Ralph

Saturday! Be nice to your people and animals.
As always, pet advice submissions are welcomed at adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

WIP Wednesday

It's been a while since my last WIP Wednesday post so I thought I'd show you what I've been working on lately.  This block is for Camilla, made as part of the Simply Solids bee.  I love all these super hot colours and I think Camilla is going to end up with the most stunning quilt!

Simply Solids September block

As predicted, I've also been working on a new spring inspired quilt.  This is only part of it but I'm really excited to finish up the quilt top.

Start of a spring quilt

What have you been working on this week?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Sew sew modern / a little bit retro

This weekend I finished up my items for round 3 of the Sew Sew Modern swap.  My partner this round is very very talented - I was looking through her flickr photostream this week and realised I would definitely have to bring my A game!

retro sewing machine cover

I'm really pleased with how my items turned out and I hope my partner likes the slightly retro vibe.

modern sewing machine cover

I used the Beyond Measure pattern from Bloom and Blossom to make this sewing machine cover.  I thought it might be quite tricky since it looks so fancy with the piping and everything, but I found it remarkably easy to put together.  I think this is partly down to a really well designed pattern, and partly because I have been sewing quite a few 3 dimensional items lately.

I altered the measurements of the sewing machine cover slightly to fit my partner's sewing machine - I always think the mark of a good pattern is that it's pretty easy to customise to suit your requirements.  I also deviated from the pattern in my use of interfacing etc.  The pattern calls for fusible fleece and one layer of heavy weight interfacing - I had medium weight interfacing on hand so I interfaced both the exterior and the lining instead.  I also omitted the fusible fleece - I just really don't like working with it!  If I were to make this again, I would probably include a layer of cotton batting (I always have odd shaped pieces lying around), but it certainly has enough body without it - in these photos it is standing up by itself.

retro modern type text fabric

For the co-ordinating small item I made another 7" fabric bowl using the nesting fabric bowl pattern from a cuppa and a catch up.  I was inspired to add the binding around the top edge by these ones amy/badskirt made.

retro modern fabric bowl 

I'll be sending these lovelies off to my partner this week - can't wait for them to arrive!

Linking up with:

Fresh Poppy Design  Better Off Thread  My Quilt Infatuation

and with Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Caturday Wisdom #35

Be aware, things are not always what they seem. 
A simple mouth inspection can be turned into this soppy crap. Ivy

As always, if you would like to send me adorable animal photos then get them to adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com. Have a great weekend!

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Jeanie Quilt

Ok, I hope you're in the mood for a long post. There are lots of lovely quilts for you to look at so you won't get bored, but feel free to grab a cuppa before you start!

Earlier this year a group of my friends and I took a class through Capital Quilter's guild, taught by fellow guild member Jeanie O'Sullivan.  Jeanie is a very talented quilter who combines a flair for colour with incredible technical skills and a level of attention to detail that I really admire.  Jeanie's quilts often have a traditional vibe with a playful touch that makes them really appealing, plus they are always beautifully beautifully made.

Jeanie was teaching us to make her Majoring in Botany quilt, the pattern for which has been featured in NZ Quilter magazine.  Majoring in Botany is a great name, but it's a bit of a mouthful, so we ended up calling this the Jeanie quilt (as in "how is your Jeanie quilt coming along?"). 

The general idea of Jeanie's Majoring in Botany quilt is to choose a feature fabric that is a large scale print with lots of colours in it.  Then you pull other large scale print fabrics in those colours to create the large borders, and choose a contrasting print for the narrow borders.  One of my favourite things about this pattern is how different the quilt can look depending on your fabric choices - it really lends itself perfectly to personalisation.  Happily, I've got photos of lots of different versions of this quilt to show you so you can see what I mean!

Jeanie O'Sullivan's original Majoring in Botany Quilt

Jeanie was kind enough to give me photos of her Majoring in Botany quilts and answer a few questions for the blog.  My questions are in bold and her answers are below.

How long have you been quilting?
I have been quilting for about 15 years but have always sewn (clothing, furnishings, embroidery).

How did you come up with the idea for your Majoring in Botany quilt?
One of the themes in my work is using big pieces of large scale patterned fabric in medallion style quilts. These are usually antiquey looking but I decided to try a more modern look as I had a lovely collection of large scale modern fabrics. Botany came out of this and was quite a restrained colour mix to suit the tastes of the recipient. I had so much fun making it that I soon made the second quilt in a much more exuberant colour mix. What I love about this quilt style is that you get to play extensively with colour and pattern without worrying about a detailed construction.

How many different versions have you made?
I have only made the two Botany style quilts but they are related to a number of my other medallion quilts. I am currently planning a red themed one.

What's your favourite part of quilting?
Its a bit hard to pick the best part... but probably that point where you have made part of the quilt and start to play with the blocks/sections - often I find at this bit that the quilt will start to tell me what it wants to do!

I totally relate to what Jeanie says about the quilt telling her what it wants to do!  I've definitely had that experience before.

I think the second version of this quilt that Jeanie made really shows the versatility of this pattern. It's so different to the original but still works with the same idea.

Jeanie's second quilt

My friend Anne made a version of Jeanie's quilt a couple of years ago.  This version is called A Rose in Grandma's Garden and was given to Anne's mother when she became a grandma.  I really really love the Anna Maria Horner print in the centre (I am hoarding some of this fabric) and the grey polka dot borders are very Anne (grey is her signature colour!).

A Rose in Grandma's Garden 1
A Rose in Grandma's Garden by Anne

Anne made a second version of this quilt in the class this year.  I really adore this version - it manages to be soft and punchy in a way that is very beautiful.  I think the central fabric was an excellent choice because it gives so many colours to work with in the borders.  Plus Anne's (very) extensive stash means she has been able to incorporate lots of absolutely gorgeous fabrics.

Anne's Quilt
Anne's second version of this quilt
My friend Helen also took the class this year and she has created this beautiful quilt top (it's not quilted yet because it's waiting in the queue of...well, let's just say many, quilt tops in Helen's closet).  I love how Helen really made the most of all the subtle colour variations in her feature fabric.  It's very fresh and light but looks totally at home in this warm and almost mediterranean feeling quilt.  Helen also did an amazing job of bringing in fabrics from both sides of her stash - both modern and traditional.

Helen's Quilt
Helen's quilt

This is my version of the quilt.  When I came to pick fabrics for this quilt, I realised that I am very inclined to buy smaller scale prints with a small number of colours in them.  Of course, this meant shopping, and I actually think this quilt helped balance my stash out a bit better.  Blenders are very useful but sometimes you want the larger scale prints for interest.  Anyway, my feature fabric is a Valori Wells print on a cotton/linen blend fabric - I really like it and I have more so it will definitely be making another appearance.  This quilt did take me a bit out of my comfort zone in the sense that it is super bright and very high contrast with the black and white polka dot borders, but I love it.

Ring a Ring o' Roses Quilt 

A great part of making this quilt in a class was getting to swap fabrics with other people, and all three of the quilts Anne, Helen and I made have fabrics from the other two in them.

Now, I have to show you the back of my quilt for two reasons.  One, it's minky!  I used batting as well so this is a lovely heavy soft snuggly quilt.  Two, I had to show you the quilting.  I'm not insane enough to try and quilt a large minky-backed quilt on my machine so Sue Burnett did the quilting on this one as well.  I can't remember was the quilting design is called, but it's lovely.

Ring a ring o' Roses Quilt - back

I really had a lot of fun making this quilt and I can definitely see myself making another version (or more!).  I just need to collect a few more fabrics that could work for the centre.

Quilt Stats
Pattern: Jeanie O'Sullivan's Majoring in Botany pattern
Finished Size: Approximately 70" square
Fabric: too many to name - ask me if you want to know what anything is! 
Backing: orange polka dot minky from Spotlight
Binding: Riley Blake Medium Dots in Black
Pieced by: me
Quilted by: Sue Burnett.

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

This quilt is the fifth of my third quarter goals that I've finished - yay!  I'll be linking up with Leanne at she can quilt at the end of September as part of the 2013 Finish Along.

she can quilt

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